Latin preverbs and verb argument structure

New insights from new methods


This paper presents a corpus-based study on the argument structure of Latin verbs that are prefixed with spatial preverbs. Preverbation involves prefixing verbs, and is therefore a morphological phenomenon; however, studying the argument structure of preverbed verbs is a good chance to explore the syntax-semantics and syntax-lexicon interfaces. Through a diachronic investigation of the interactions between the morpho-syntactic realisations of the arguments of preverbed verbs and their lexical-semantic properties, I aim at demonstrating the merits of an original, corpus-based quantitative approach. The results on preverbs partially support a more general trend from Latin synthetic case-based morpho-syntax to the analytic syntax of the Romance languages, although they also show that this trend is not unidirectional and linear. The source data for the analysis cover Early, Classical and Medieval Latin and are drawn from state-of-the-art computational resources for Latin.

Citation information

McGillivray, B. (2013). Latin preverbs and verb argument structure: New insights from new methods. In Elly van Gelderen, Jóhanna Bar›dal, and Michela Cennamo (eds.), Argument Structure in Flux. The Naples-Capri Papers , Amsterdam: John Benjamins

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